Retro-art finished in time for Chatham festival

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King Street Commons has gone retro-British invasion with the artistic stylings of 21-year-old Matthew Brackett.

"He's an awesome talent and it's one of his favourite mediums to work in so it's a natural fit," said Carson Warrener. "And it's a good opportunity for him to showcase his work."

Brackett spent a week transforming the hoarding wall surrounding the English 1952 AEC righthand-drive double-decker bus into a 1980's graffiti themed work of art.

"I appreciate it," said Bill Marchand, 72. "It looks like something you'd see in England."

Marchand said he's amazed at some of the graffiti artwork on the rail cars passing through Chatham and it's nice to see some fresh art brightening the downtown core.

"It's really sharp," said Marchand. "Good work, lad."

Brackett, who's been honing his graffiti skills for the last three years, said it's not as simple as picking up a can of paint from Walmart.

"When you start out we're all terrible, nobody is God when you pick up a spray can," he said. "Most cans you buy at Walmart give you a fan tip, you can't do anything with that."

Most of the paint he uses comes from Europe because it has a more consistent coverage. He also uses a number of tips allowing for more control.

Graffiti has gained standing as a respected art form in recent years, with some pieces commanding $2,000 to $7,000 at sales.

Along with the artwork, 60 tons of beach sand have taken over the ice pad area as a part of the King Street Commons Beach Party for Retrofest.

"We'll have the castle shaped buckets and shovels and what not. It's really good sand too, it's awesome," said Warrener. "We were hoping it would be a little warmer so we'll just have to dress slightly different than planned."

Friday night Michael Schatte kicked off Concerts on the Commons, which will feature a free concert every Friday from 7 - 9 p.m. in conjunction with the car cruise rolling through the downtown core.

The Downtown Chatham Centre will also be handing out free T-shirts to children for the soon to be opened Jurassic Fantastic party centre and it will feature the Flintstone's movie car just inside the King Street entrance.

A 1950s British black cab will also be parked out front as a kick-off for the Name the Bus contest. A ballot box along with information and entry forms will be available for everyone to help name the eatery slated to open mid-summer.

"We encourage people to come down, play and have fun," said Warrener.



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